Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Power Rangers

Grade : C- Year : 2017 Director : Dean Israelite Running Time : 2hr 4min Genre : ,
Movie review score

I was never a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fan growing up. So, when I went to see the new movie reboot of the franchise with my wife and two nieces yesterday, I was going in as someone who didn’t have any strong feelings about it. I can’t really say I have any more or less stronger feelings about the property as a whole, but I definitely have some strong feelings on Dean Israelite’s film, and they aren’t good. They were basically solidified by the cheesy, seemingly underfunded “apocalyptic” battle scene at the end of the movie wherein our heroes take on a giant gold demon by turning into a Voltron-like machine. Thank God no one on the ground in this small town seemed to die.

The film starts with a scene of an alien Power Rangers team, led by Bryan Cranston’s Zordon, 65 million years ago that wins a battle against a great foe, but dies doing so. The artifacts of the Power Rangers are then lost under rock for millions of years. Seems like a perfect setup to be accidentally stumbled upon them in the present day, doesn’t it, which is exactly what happens. The people that are the finders are all outsiders, even though Jason (Dacre Montgomery) was once the star quarterback at the high school before he made a mistake that put him under house arrest. It’s in detention that Jason meets Kimberly (Naomi Scott), who punched a guy, and Billy (RJ Cyler), a brilliant kid who is on the autism spectrum, while they all run into Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.) at the rock quarry they find the stones that will turn them into Power Rangers. However, whether they can come together as a team before the world gets destroyed by a former Ranger (Rita Repulsa, played by Elizabeth Banks in, honestly, the most embarrassing role of her career) as she looks for the film’s McGuffin to make her all powerful.

That basic plot description should be enough for you to tell that what we’re dealing with is standard-issue hero’s origin storytelling and filmmaking here, which I guess is to be expected from the script by John Gatins (“Real Steel,” “Flight”). This is not meant for complexity and intricate world-building, but franchise setup, and that’s what we get. I, personally, could do without it, and I just can’t imagine being too enthusiastic about another go round. As a non-fan, this film should have hooked me in to keep me interested, but unfortunately, the only characters that really resonated with me are Billy and Zack, and the rest just felt like boiler-plate cliches. It didn’t help that the movie feels very low-budget and cheap compared to what it should probably look like. Go go Power Rangers? Meh, I’ll pass.

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